By John Hanna
“Two doctors who perform abortions in Kansas filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to block a new licensing law and regulations that abortion rights advocates fear will make Kansas the first state in the country without an abortion provider.
Dr. Herbert Hodes and his daughter, Dr. Traci Nauser, argue that the new licensing process for abortion providers is a ‘sham’ and that the law and accompanying regulations are designed to stop the state’s three abortion providers, all of which are in the Kansas City area. Supporters of the law say it protects patients from substandard care. The law takes effect Friday, and abortion providers that don’t have a licenses by then won’t be able to perform abortions under the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s new regulations. A final version of those rules was given to providers just last week. ‘If you look at the process, it’s hard to come to any conclusion other than it’s stacked against the providers,’ said Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney with the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the two doctors. ‘The process here is so extreme it’s absurd.’ The law requires abortion providers to obtain annual licenses, and the health department regulations tell providers what drugs and equipment they must have available. The rules also set other standards, such as requiring the rooms in which abortions are performed to have at least 150 square feet of space, excluding cabinets, and to remain between 68 and 73 degrees. In their lawsuit, Hodes and Nauser said the new regulations are stricter than rules for other health care providers. The suit claims the state violated their right to due legal process. The licensing law was among a wave of anti-abortion proposals enacted this year in Kansas.”